The Mělník Wine Centre of the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague is one of the winemaking entities of the Mělník wine growing sub-region located 2 km north of the town of Mělník. It can be found at the southern foot of the ridge called Chloumek. The Centre produces grapes and fruit on an area of about 20 hectares of land. The centre where wine production is concentrated is the historical building called Kartuziánský lis (Carthusian Mill).
The first mention of the building, which was acquired in 1982 as the residence of the future winemaking centre, dates back to 1628, when the Carthusian Order bought land plots in Chloumek for 350 gold pieces from Mrs Horáková from Mělník. At that time, a monastery was built near the royal dowry town of Mělník by monks from the Carthusian Order who came from France.
The residents of the monastery, who were denied certain life enjoyments, made up for it by drinking wine that they acquired from grapes grown on their vineyards near the monastery. The wines were aged in a wine cellar carved into the rock deep underground at a constant low temperature. After the Carthusians left, the building and the owners of the former monastery changed several times. Some of them became Burgomasters of the town of Mělník. The name of the building also changed several times based on the names of its owners. According to recent winemaking families, the building was called Svoboda’s, Růžička’s and Dufek’s Mill.
After wine growing had been interrupted for several decades, the building and the adjacent land were acquired by the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague in 1982, and the centre became part of University Farm Estate Lány. The primary task of the viticulture and fruit centre was to create favourable conditions for teaching and research activities of the Department of Horticulture of the Faculty of Agronomy of the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, and for carrying out experimentation.
As part of University Farm Estate Lány, it also included a production base for manufacturing cultivated seed grapevine material, wine and fruit.
The most successful clones of grapevine suitable for the Mělník area were used for planting vineyards. Seedlings for planting vineyards were mainly imported from wine-growing localities in the Rhine river basin, whose climatic conditions were similar to those in in Mělník. Among other things, the task of the research was to verify the suitability of foreign clones, and to verify the most appropriate clones depending on the substructure, cutting method, routing and other factors. The best results were achieved with Rhine Riesling clone varieties, as well as Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Sylvaner, Müller Thurgau and others. The possibility of eventual use of new varieties grown abroad, such as Kerner, Dornfeldr, Domina, also proved to be successful. Today, these are widely planted in the Czech Republic.
Due to the political and mainly economic changes after 1989, there was less interest in winemaking research at our centre. The primary task of the centre became representation of the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, practical training of students of various disciplines, the possibility for students to carry out practical experiments in the creation of bachelor and master’s theses, and achievement of economic self-sufficiency.
Grapevine is cultivated on a 12.86 ha vineyard, which includes a 1.74 ha garden and 5.78 ha of orchards. Permanent employees work here, as well as seasonal workers during spring work and vine harvests.
Wine is made using the classic method, i.e. grapes are processed as fast as possible. Cider is fermented at a temperature of 18°C. We use high-grade ferments. The wines are aged in our renowned lager cellar. Natural, varietal quality and predicate wines with minimal chemical treatment are produced here. The cultivation of white varieties prevails over blue varieties.
Although the wine is made purely from local grapes, the winemaking centre prides on a number of awards for “university” wines. These include a silver medal for a quality Blue Portugal presented at the nomination exhibition of the Wine Salon of the Czech Republic in 2005 in Kutná Hora, or a gold medal (for Pinot Blanc - late harvest 2007) and silver medal (Blue Portugal - quality 2005) at Vinařské (Winemaking) Litoměřice in 2011. A year later, the university Rhine Riesling - late harvest 2007, was announced as the best wine from Bohemia at a national exhibition in Vracov. Other varieties also received awards and medals, of which over 70% are white wines. In addition to Riesling and Pinot Blanc, the best of these mainly include Sylvaner, Moravian Muscat, Müller – Thurgau and Gewürztraminer.
Other awards that the enterprise received include Rhine Riesling Kabinett 2013 (gold medal NSV VO Bohemia), Sylvaner 2014 quality (winner of category semisweet wines NSV VO Bohemia), Pinot Gris 2013 ps. (gold medal Kyjov Pinot Wines Gallery, highest rated wine VO Bohemia, and gold medals VL 2014), Labín 2014 ps silver medal NSV VO Bohemia). Gewurztraminer 2014 Kabinett, Pinot Blanc 2014 Kabinett, won the award for the best collection of wines at the VO Bohemia National Competition in 2014.
Ing. Štěpán Weitosch
cell: +420 731 117 242